UI Adds Blues to Fall Color With Whiting Fellow Poet Tyehimba Jess

Thursday, October 10 2013


MOSCOW, Idaho — Bridging academic and slam poetry, Tyehimba Jess will read his work and sign books Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Law School Courtroom at the Menard Law Building on the University of Idaho campus. The event is free and open to the public.

“Tyehimba’s poetry readings are world renown,” said Doug Heckman, University of Idaho MFA Creative Writing program director. “He’s an award-winning slam poet who also is highly regarded in the academic community - an impressive feat.”

Best known for his collection of poems, “leadbelly,” which imagines the life of a legendary blues musician using a range of innovative poetic forms, Jess was raised in Detroit and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and a Masters of Fine Arts from New York University.

While in Chicago, Jess frequented open mic and slam events honing his craft. From observing those slams, Jess learned about marrying page and stage to elevate his writing and earn numerous awards.

In addition to the prestigious Whiting Fellowship, Jess also has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. His first book of poetry, “leadbelly,” was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. Jess is a former winner of the Chicago Sun-Times Poetry Award, and most recently exhibited his poetry at the 2011 TedX Nashville Conference.

Jess will visit the University of Idaho campus as part of the Distinguished Visiting Writer series. Sponsored by the University of Idaho Department of English, the Distinguished Visiting Writer series brings writers of national significance to work with students and present their work at a public reading.

Future readings in the 2013-2014 series include Teju Cole on Nov. 13.

For more information on this and other MFA Creative Writing events and programs, please visit: www.uidaho.edu/class/english/ or contact Heckman at dheckman@uidaho.edu.
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The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. Learn more: www.uidaho.edu.